Community gathers to remember Overland Park teen killed after being hit by car

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OVERLAND PARK, Kan. -- It was a tearful and emotional Sunday night for students and staff from Oxford Middle School, as they gear up to go to school Monday with one less classmate by their side.

Gracie O'Neill is one of hundreds who's left asking 'why' after their friend tragically died.

"It's just been really hard," Gracie said.

"Just walking home from school. Backpack in one hand, trumpet in the other and out of nowhere, catastrophic," Gracie's mom Lisa O'Neil said.

A driver in a tan Ford Focus headed north on Switzer left the roadway and struck 14-year-old Alex Rumple on the sidewalk Friday afternoon as she was walking home from Oxford Middle School . She died two days later from her injuries in the hospital.

"It's just scary. A human life shouldn't be taken away like that, Gracie said.

"It's hard and I just, I feel so badly for her parents, Lisa said.

An entire community showed support for Alex's family with a candle-light vigil. There were lots of tears and tissues as teachers, friends and administrators passed the microphone, sharing stories about Alex's kind and artistic personality.

She was part of the band, which played Sunday night. The principal pointed out an empty chair that sat in the grass. She said, Alex's chair is there, even though she's not.

"It's nothing any parent should ever have to go through ever. Our kids are supposed to bury us, we're not supposed to bury them. It's, it's awful."

Lisa said this situation hits home. She lost her son too.

"I think that's kind of all we can do right now is just be there for the family because the pain is unbearable," Lisa said.

Gracie and her friends will show support for Alex and her family by wearing plaid and ponytails to school Monday.

"Just what Alex used to love and what she always did and we're going to try to sell more of the shirts and the GoFundMe and wristbands and just try to help the family and show love and support," Gracie said.

The school district plans to have counselors available at the middle school Monday for Alex's friends and anyone else at the school who knew her and needs to talk.

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